Forbidden Pursuits (The Galactic Captains #2), Harry F Rey
Rating: 4 Stars
Publisher: NineStar Press
Tags: Gay, Sci-Fi, SFF, Erotic, Kink, Interracial MCs, Series Book #2
Length: 164 Pages
Reviewer: Kazza K
When Daeron’s mother, Captain Sanya, is offered a risky but lucrative job, rescuing an experimental galinium scientist from Aldegar, the lost loves lurking in her past mean she must send Daeron away to the other end of the galaxy—to the father he’s never met on the Kyleri Empire’s capital, Jiwani.
On Jiwani, the heir to the galaxy’s most powerful empire, Prince Osvai, balances deference to rigid Kyleri customs with his desire to explore the forbidden secrets of the Royal Baths, and the dark pursuits no prince should have.
But when a mysterious stranger from the Outer Verge turns up to work with his ambitious Uncle Viscamon, Osvai’s temptations lead him into a web of intrigue that could change the Galactic Balance forever.
As Sanya, Daeron, and Osvai pursue their forbidden desires, they become entwined in a galactic power struggle stretching from the frozen tundra of Jansen to the searing memories of Captain Ales’s lost homeworld, Teva.
They’ll soon discover all love has consequence, and the more forbidden the desires, the more deadly the pursuits.
Captain Sanya is in charge of the Daring Huntress. It was once a transport vessel of the Confederation of the Seven Suns but it conveniently became hers. The ship is used for bounty hunting now and consists of an all female crew, except for Sanya’s twenty-one year old son, Daeron. The latest bounty, a man by the name of Antari, is supposed to be a rapist, a bounty that Sanya would never refuse, but Daeron finds him in the hold and it seems Antari is not who Sanya and the crew have been told he is. It also becomes apparent there is more to the overall story. Sanya is dealing with a professional and personal dilemma, one involving her son, and she has to make a difficult decision. Her crew are loyal and longstanding, they’re like family, but Daeron has had a tendency to think with his dick more often of late, making some questionable decisions when they’ve been on jobs. The crew would like him removed, not an easy thing for Sanya to decide, putting her between the proverbial rock and a hard place. The part of her that is a captain agrees, the mother in her wants her son to stay onboard with her. Adding to the decision that Sanya makes is the fact that she’s going to agree to a job for an old Boss, Captain Brock, which is borderline (il)legal and extremely dangerous. There’s a direct connection between this job and one she undertook for Brock sixteen years ago that involved Teva, Daeron, and a woman she fell for, including a whole lot of damage. For the first time it seems that leaving Daeron with his biological father, one he hardly knows who is now an ambassador living in Jiwani, makes sense… but it hurts nonetheless.
“You understand I have to protect you, right? You’re more important to me than this ship, than any job.”
Osvai lives in Jiwani, the capital of Kyleri, and is the son of the current Emperor. Kyleri is a wealthy planet which makes it the natural choice to gain an allegiance with in this part of the galaxy. With a leader who is old, it also leaves it ripe for a take over. There are some Vergians who are involved with the newly combined Union and Council, Admiral Turo (book #1) being one of them, who are very interested in this part of the system, and some Kyleri who are very interested in the Outer Verge.
The men in Jiwani wear silks and high heels with diamonds in them and the royal throne is crystal. Osvai’s father is one-hundred and fifty – the therapeutic waters the nobles use in their upmarket and male-only communal bathhouses aid longevity. Speaking of, the bathhouses are the focal point for nobles talking business and politics, but Osvai has heard rumours for a couple of years about a secret, hidden gallery in the rock caverns where men have sex in complete anonymity. Same-sex relationships are not permitted for the Kyleri. Although once it wasn’t an issue and polyamorous clans used to be a sign of Kyleri status. Osvai’s grandfather constitutionally changed marriage to a union between a man and a woman and Osvai’s father has reinforced that moral code, all while his son and heir is gay although definitely not out. Irrespective of the attempt at the idea of ‘morality’, there seems to be plenty of men who are interested in the other bathhouse, the hidden gallery.
Many shadows now moved around the ceiling far above, the footsteps and voices came closer. The fingers of a stranger grazed the smoothness of his ass. Osvai gasped in pleasure and pain as the first man in the queue dived straight inside him.
Kyleri’s and Viscamon’s homophobia not withstanding, if an important visitor chooses to have sex with men then that can be accommodated. Admiral Turo visits Osvai’s Uncle Viscamon, a political and power hungry individual who likes to make sure people believe Osvai is unsuitable to take the throne. An alliance between planets and empires is on the table. As are MAST and STAR drives, longer range space travel technology, a megacollider on Aldegar in the Outer Verge, and galinium. Because Turo is powerful, male pleasure slaves are lined up for him by the hypocritical Viscamon. Osvai was also introduced to Turo and listened and discussed some ideas of his own regarding balance and power while in the royal baths. Rather than leave, Osvai stays as Turo sexually takes apart several pleasure slaves, and while the dominance and aggression turns him on he can’t show his attraction.
Fornication among men with the imperial heir in the sanctity of the royal baths. It would only confirm the subtle assertions Viscamon whispered around court that Osvai was unfit to inherit the largest and most powerful empire in the galaxy.
I’m unsure which side Turo is on, I’m not very trusting of him still, so it remains to be seen whether he’s expediently behind the political opportunist Viscamon or whether he’ll stick with the royal name and support Osvai. Emperor Kantori is getting to the point of abdicating in favour of his son but there must be an official sanctioning of the next in line by the council, and there are some who feel Osvai is weak (gay) and should not be the ruler. Talk is fuelled and flamed by Osvai’s Uncle Viscamon who has designs on the throne and is one reason Osvai’s father has been holding onto power. Also, Osvai is young at nineteen.
Meanwhile, Osvai not only manages to find the secret gallery below the city he partakes in the activities. It is split into two areas – one side is a series of consecutive gloryholes, or mouths, and the other a consecutive row of anonymous holes where legs and genitals can pass through for tops to fuck bottoms in complete anonymity. The bottoms are strapped in and have to agree to take what is given by however many men pass through for a set period of time. On the first occasion, Osvai revels in the abundant sex, in the feeling he has afterwards of having had many men fuck him who know nothing about who he is. The second time is somewhat more interesting.
Daeron is in the capital for the Feast of the Thirteen Star with his father, and while out for a bit of alone time he manages to stumble upon the secret gallery. This seems like paradise found to a sexually active twenty-one year old who usually fumbles around in bathrooms at space station layovers. This time he also stands back and observes. He wants to get to know who the mysterious ‘bottom’ at the end is, something he never usually wants to know, the one who remains hard throughout the constant sex and seems so into the sexual pounding he’s receiving. Being impulsive, Daeron does what he does best, he seeks and explores, meaning this exploration is scaling the wall separating the two divisions of men. What he finds excites him even more, the young man, the bottom – Osvai – is slim, hairless, pretty to Daeron’s powerful build, hairy chest, his dark skin. Both men are physically attracted to one another and are also quite in sync the more they talk, the more events occur.
Not going to lie, Daeron and Osvai equal some major insta-love, some serendipity, a definite forbidden pursuit among the others in this book, and I enjoyed it all. It’s pure escapism with moments of kink and a nice romance. They live in a galaxy far, far away, who’s to say they don’t roll that way? I enjoy the space opera style of this series. The eroticism. I find it refreshing. In the midst of some drama and political shenanigans I was happy for some newfound happiness. A bit of young love. I simply like the fact that the author takes his storytelling to places I’m not exactly expecting while skilfully connecting the dots. I hope he never stops doing that.
Everything in this series is building steadily toward a climax that entwines characters and planets and history within the current system and beyond. Sanya is on her mission, leaving Daeron on Kyleri with a father he doesn’t really know at the time of The Feast of the Thirteenth Star, a huge date on the Kyleri calendar, one where all the high-borns and royals are together. Turo and the Council/Union is in the mix. Daeron meets and falls for Osvai who is the next in line to rule an empire that is strategic and wealthy, different to the Outer Verge but powerfully advantageous. Many things are afoot, surprises occur, fate, destiny, or manipulation is in play – pick one or all. The erotic adventures continue and it’s all stacking up to be one hell of a ride.
The well named Forbidden Pursuits is a very good second book in the Galactic Captains series. There are several ongoing arcs started in Siege Weapons that are being expanded as the story continues, and new characters are introduced who affect people from book #1. I had a few aha! moments as well as a big surprise. I can’t say anymore because they’re major spoilers. I do recommend you start at Siege Weapons if you’re going to read this series because the sci-fi elements and plot are linked, so is Captain Ales, and although he doesn’t appear in this book he’s connected via several people and occurrences. This book ends well but it’s also to be continued, however the good news about that is the author has a whole series planned that won’t be released too far apart. I want to see how all these interconnecting people and scenarios play out because I’m hooked. Once again, as with book #1, the writing is strong, entertaining, with excellent sci-fi world building, and the eroticism has a definite kick to it, and some love was in the air. 4 Stars!